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American Identity and Language

Culture is certain commonalities of any certain groups of people in any certain geographical spaces. Culture is land-based and identity is culture-based.

Cultures are made due to certain spaces. People make their cultures to adapt themselves to the spaces they are in and different ways of adaptations make different cultures. The more spaces are alike, the more cultures resemble. Part of the development of cultures is due to the needs of certain spaces. Other part relates to what cultures import or what people pick up from their own cultures or other cultures to use more.

People share their commonalities through languages which can be words, arts, behaviors or any other means to communicate. As long as the commonalities are there people feel relaxed being together and the process of developing the culture continues.

Basically, any structure is based on a foundation and it needs some columns to be solid and strong. Language is one of the columns for any identity to be distinguished from the others.

Many believe that bilingualism is distorting the process of rearing children if one decides to bring up his child a real American, English is the first and the only choice. There are immigrants who want to keep the ties and connections with their ancestor countries by their heritage language which is part of their culture and identity. Actually, a Non-English-speaking person in America, can not be regarded a true American. English is a very important part of the American identity, since that is the language of the Founding Fathers of this land. The more a person in America looks like the Founding Fathers, the more American he is. Land, language and appearance are the elements that the other aspects of American identity and American exceptionalism can be defined and discussed through them.

If a friend of yours said that he had an American friend, first of all you would imagine a white English-speaking man. Another example, suppose you see a friend with a stranger at a party, if you ask him “Where is your friend from?” and if your friend replies “He is from the United States” very probable you will talk to him in English, no matter what his appearance looks like, either a black man, or a person who is similar to an Indian or even a Chinese in resemblance. Being a white from the United States and speaking in English are the first things that come to mind to describe American nationality. You may say, today English is a universally used and understandable language, it is true, but is used mostly in case you can not communicate with a person by his native language. If you can you will talk to his native language, since any language carries also, meanings, feelings, believes or thoughts that can not be transferred through other languages. Those who are able to speak in different languages understand it more. To express a feeling a thought or an idea multilingual people pick up certain words from different languages, it means maybe a word in one language carries the best of what it wants to express. For example by the words you start greetings you do not have the very same feelings. So, that is why multilingual people choose certain words from different languages to express what they want to say.

Language is one of the commonalities through which people feel better being together. A traveler picks up the words of his language very soon in a strange city, and gets pleased, when others can talk to the same language. Then he gets more pleased to meet a person sharing the same nationality, it means they can understand each other better and can enjoy more not to feel alone being different to others. The American traveler will say, “I’m from America.” and he will hear, “Oh, I’m American, too.” The traveler will hear “Oh,” and “too” more emphasized which come from their commonalities. Many times happen they are not two people talking, but their cultures and backgrounds. Maybe the same traveler enters a city, in which the citizens are very warm to him even, but they speak to another language and that is the time he feels something else must be existed, but it does not. Have you ever felt homesick in such a place?!

What is written here can be true for any languages and for any cultures. There is something special in any space which is unique, something in the air, land and water if any of them or all of them exists. Like the plants which are special for different areas.

So, English which is spoken in America as what said about the certain spaces is part of American identity.